Friday, February 12, 2010

Old & New at Wellspring

I don't know of anywhere else in Shelton where the contrast between old and new is as striking as it is here at the Wellspring open space, just a few hundred yards from Route 8, exit 12. Parking is on Farmill Crossing near Old Stratford Road, near the sign in the photo below (there is no pull-off). See map. Be careful how you park, and do not block the drive.

A quick stroll down the access drive will bring you to an old corn crib.

Corn cribs were built with large gaps between the boards so that air could circulate into the building and dry out the corn.

And now for something new: There is some impressive graffiti under the modern Farmill Crossing bridge. Good place for it, in my opinion. I suspect it's not bothering anyone.

Going back up to the access drive, you want to walk along the gravel emergency access road shown in the picture below (it's on open space). The big modern homes will be to the right, and the river will be visible down below. The developer did a nice job with the large stone retaining wall - it looks like old New England. We have new, old, and new that looks old.

When you get to a couple of telephone poles you have reached the old dam used to power the Beards' sawmill (hence the name of a nearby road: Beard Sawmill Road). The dam has washed out, but there is plenty of rockwork still evident. Just upstream from the dam the river rushes through a series of chutes and rapids as it drops radically in elevation.

And for contrast, just across the Far Mill River is a big modern corporate office building, currently home to Health Net.

And here's the abutments for a bridge that washed out some time ago. This is located immediately south of the washed out dam. Instead of Farmill Crossing, we had Beard's Sawmill Road, and this was the crossing near the sawmill.

The photo below is looking downstream from the bridge. I believe the large stone walls were related to another mill as shown on a map from 1868.

The gravel emergency access road ends, but you can continue along the river on an unmarked dirt fisherman's trail to a sharp bend in the river. The rough streamside trail enters private property at the bend for a ways, although it is not posted and people apparently use it. Very scenic, with waterfalls and a deepening ravine. Eventually the trail reaches City of Stratford open space known as Far Mill River Park, which is very beautiful.

The map below is from 1868. The main road going from left to right is now called Bridgeport Avenue. The river is the Far Mill River, with Mill Street and Beard Sawmill Road alongside. The river crossing near the bottom of the map is where the old abutments are.